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Do You Recognize the 7 Early Warning Signs of Overtraining?

by Dejan Antic | Follow Dejan on Twitter

Overtraining SymptomsHere’s a question for you.

How do you know, if your workout routine is secretly killing your muscle gains?

It’s actually quite easy to know, if you can spot the warning signs.

Unfortunately, 99% of people working out, are oblivious to these signs. As a result, this leads them straight to the path of overtraining.

Early detection is the key here.

So, how do you recognize the early signs of overtraining?

Keep reading to find out.

What Exactly Is Overtraining

Before I talk about the signs, you first need to understand what overtraining is.

Overtraining or CNS fatigue is a physical condition that occurs, when your training volume and intensity exceeds your body’s recovery capacity.

CNS or the central nervous system is what controls our body’s functions – this also includes muscle contractions. If your CNS is fatigued, then your workouts, as well as your overall health, are going to feel the consequences.

The Warning Signs

Here are the most common 7 sings of overtraining, you should be on the lookout for:

1. Inability to complete your workouts

I’m not talking about normal failure – the type of failure you experience, when you try to break personal records. If all of the sudden you’re struggling to lift weights, you previously lifted with relative ease, chances are you’re overtrained.

2. Decreased immunity

Training like a mad man and not getting enough rest, will leave your immune system in a devastated state. That’s why so many people get sick so often – mainly with colds and flue.

3. Elevated resting heart rate

This is one of the easiest ways to find out, whether you’re overtrained or not. Before embarking on a fitness journey, make sure you measure your resting hearth rate (RHR) – this should be your baseline. As you improve your fitness, your RHR should slowly decrease. In the event of overtraining, you should notice your RHR go up.

4. Depression

Excessive training can negatively affect the levels of key neurotransmitters – especially Serotonin and Dopamine. Since these two neurotransmitters affect your mood, an imbalance can usually lead to depression.

5. Increased incidence of injuries

If you’re constantly pushing your body beyond it’s limits, then something will break eventually. Your body needs to rest in order to repair itself, there’s no way around it. And believe me, you don’t want to go through an injury like a muscle strain – nasty stuff.

6. Loss of appetite

Excessive training negatively affects many hormones. As a result, your appetite can diminish quite substantially. If you’re not able to eat the allotted meals, don’t force yourself. Take a couple of days off of your diet and see if that fixes your apetite.

7. Increased body fat

Insane training routines will negatively affect your testosterone:cortisol balance. Cortisol hormone is mainly released during periods of high stress, ergo the name stress hormone. High cortisol levels in your body mean decreased muscle production and more fat storage.

The Solution to Overtraining

The solution to the overtraining syndrome is quite simple.


Without adequate rest, your body won’t be able to function properly. Let alone be able to lift heavy weights.

Here are 3 simple rules you need to follow, in order to keep the overtraining syndrome at bay:

  • Take 1-2 weeks off your training every 3 months.
  • On a weekly basis, have more rest days than training days.
  • Keep the training volume low and the intensity high.

By following the advice in this post, you’ll be able to train without fear of overtraining. As soon as you experience any signs of overtraining, check if you’re breaking any of the 3 rules.

Have I forgotten to mention other important signs? Do you know any other methods for dealing with the overtraining syndrome? If so, please let us know in the comments section below.

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